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Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?

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From Bangladesh: I am 34, married, have a daughter who is eight years old. I love her a lot.

I probably have very low self esteem since my childhood and also obsessions/compulsions. In the, I scored 75 in self-esteem and 56 in obsessions/compulsions. Although I am sure I couldn’t answer a lot of questions correctly.

I graduated in 2006. But for the past 10 years I was employed for only 22 months in 2 different jobs. The second job barely covered my expenses. I am currently unemployed and pursuing a Master of Science degree. I have been living off of my father’s house rent for most of my adult life.

I have been abused by my parents since the age of 4. Both my parents used to beat me a lot but my father used to emotionally abuse me more. My mother expressed her love and appreciation for me sometimes but my dad never did so(except for 3 occasions) because ‘that would spoil me’. Constant criticism, name-calling, belittling, ridiculing, verbal threats was a daily routine in the name of education up until 2012.

I was thrown out of home twice before the age of 12. When I was 20, I escaped from home for fear of my dad after failing in 2 courses but returned home after 3 days. I was and am very fearful of my dad. I can never speak to him normally and mostly keep silent whenever he is around, I feel like walking on egg-shells.

In 2012, at the age of 30, I first came to learn what emotional abuse is. At one occasion in that year, I confronted him and yelled at him for the first and last time. The abuses lessened ever since. But I am still afraid of him and want to move away but I need a decent job first.

I procrastinate a lot. I have no friend since the age of eight . I am afraid of facing job interviews (despite having well qualifications) and making friends for the fear of being judged negatively. I know I need therapy.

I am not legally/financially indebted to anyone. But I feel I should compensate for my past unemployment by earning more in the future. Some people I know are trying to do so to compensate for their ‘forgiven debt’. Should I do it?

Everyone in society (including my parents) seems to believe that consuming more than you have earned in life is disgraceful and nobody deserves to live on the food that he hasn’t paid for. But I don’t want to do so. I want to be happy but want to ‘deserve’ it too. But I don’t want to go abroad to earn more. I just want to live away from my parents with my family, learn more of what I love, connect with people, raise my kid and have a good life. I don’t want to pursue more money or burden myself with more responsibilities or pains than that is required to have a healthy self-esteem. What steps should I take?

Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?

Answered by on -


Your unresolved anger at past abuse is keeping you stuck. You say you want to live away from your parents, but if you live away from your parents you will have to support yourself. If you get on with life and support yourself, you may believe that you are helping your parents deny responsibility for past abuse. You may be giving your parents pain but at great expense to yourself.

I agree: You need therapy. At some point, we all need to learn ways to move on from our upbringing and create our own adult life. Your self-esteem would be better served by finding a good job and getting on with the responsibilities and tasks of adulthood instead of entertaining philosophical questions about whether you need to compensate for the last 10 years of procrastination.

The first step you need to take is to find a therapist and get to work on focusing on your future instead of your past. Since you admit that you procrastinate, I doubt you can move on without help. Please get the support and practical help a therapist can provide. You deserve to be all you can be. Your partner deserves to have a functioning partner. Your little girl needs a dad who is able to show her how to be an independent, working adult.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 21 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.